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Entertaining guests with food allergies and special diets

I have hosted shellfish sensitivities, gluten intolerance, vegetarianism, veganism, kosher rules and, yes, even a chicken allergy. No lie, all these and more have paraded through my front door and presented themselves at the table expecting a savory and delicious meal that will not send them into anaphylactic shock with the first bite. So I know a thing or two about feeding high risk dinner guests, and I’d be delighted to share my expertise with you.

Here’s what you do:

  • Order in pizza two hours before your guests arrive, then eat it. This is crucial. You’ll see why.
  • Go to the ATM and make sure you’ve got plenty of cash on hand.
  • Check the liquor cabinet and restock any bottle that is less than half full.
  • Chill the wine and champagne. You’ll want both.
  • Practice saying the following: “I hope you like scallops / pasta / veal / eggs / uncleanly butchered pork! Oh my goodness, did you tell me that? I totally forgot! More champagne / vodka / grain alcohol mixed with green Koolaid?”
  • Repeat that final question ten or fifteen more times. Don’t take no for an answer.
  • Order in Chinese food. That way any tongues that swell or get swallowed are not your fault.

As any good host knows, you need to match your guests drink for drink, so here’s the hottest of hot tips. On the odd occasion I’m a tad over-served, I dissolve two tablets of Airborne in a glass of warm water and drink it right before turning in. I often leave the “works” by my bed to ensure I remember this important step even if I’m a little “tired” at bedtime. Of course, this may not work for you, especially if you have many sensitivities and allergies yourself. I only speak from personal experience, however scant.

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